Jane Austen famously labeled her literary ambit a "little bit (two inches wide) of ivory." Luckily, her personal travels and those of her family were slightly more extensive, otherwise we should be without her letters. Not only should every Janeite possess them, but also every connoisseur of correspondence. Austen's wit is ubiquitous--even though some protest it edges into waspishness. E. M. Forster, for example, described the letters between Austen and her beloved sister, Cassandra, as "the whinnying of harpies."
On September 18, 1796, she tells Cassandra, "What dreadful Hot weather we have!--It keeps one in a continual state of Inelegance.--If Miss Pearson should return with me, pray be careful not to expect too much Beauty..." The dashes and capitalization alone make one long for the days before stylistic rules had so cemented. As for the sentiments! Austen paces her monologues to perfection, making the comic and ironic most out of the smallest incidents. Still, her frustration does occasionally emerge. "I am forced to be abusive," she implodes to Cassandra, "for want of a subject, having nothing really to say." Jane Austen has more than enough to say for lovers of literature and the cultural pinprick.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
`Deidre Le Faye's new edition is necessary and very welcome; no one was better qualified, no one could have done it so well.' Independent on Sunday
`We waited a long time for the new edition. It was well worth the wait.' Jane Austen Society of North America
`for those who are starting to get the novels confused with the films, here is a chance to enjoy their beloved Jane at her most direct ... a generous and comprehensive book' Max Davidson, The Daily Telegraph
`Most will enjoy reading Austen unbuttoned, in an unfussy and intelligently edited volume.' Sam Leith, The Observer
`Le Faye re-orders the letters chronologically and provides useful background information. She also includes previously unpublished material.' The Express
`Wiht little else to fill that ordinary life, Jane had plenty of time to write letters. They were witty, intimate and gossipy and brought alive her contemporaries and their surroundings. More than 160 are collected here, annotated and placed in chronological order.' Oxford Times
`it is possible to appreciate Le Faye's edition for what it offers to readers both casual and academic. Most importantly, this is a highly readable text. ... Carefully detailed notes, biographical and topographical indexes, and bibliographical information about primary and secondary sources all contribute to the reader's sense that Le Faye's professional thoroughness has indeed made accessible 'the daily business' of Austen's world.' RES New Series, vol.XLVIII, No.190, 1997